Student Review – Once by Enda Walsh

Once – book by Enda Walsh, Music & Lyrics by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova based on the film by John Carney – New Wolsey Theatre till 22nd September

We left a gloomy Ipswich evening outside to step into what felt like a real Irish pub. The set which was on two levels came to life with the warmth of the spotlights shining down on centre of the stage. The lighting highlighted the miss matched tables and chairs along with the many vintage posters and paintings, it made us feel very cosy and snug as if we were there.

We took our seats in this authentic Irish pub as the pre-show started: The cast started singing and dancing to traditional Irish folk music which really livened up the atmosphere in the theatre.

The mood very quickly changed as the show started. It all became quite dark as we met Guy ( Daniel Healy) for the first time  staring at his guitar. He was in a very bad place; his girlfriend had left him, he was tied to his family business and had just turned his back on his music.

All was lost to him as he started to walk away from his guitar which he had left in the centre of the stage. That was when he met this very determined and very positive Czech Girl (Emma Lucia) with her broken vacuum cleaner and for some reason this girl believed in him. She was the sort of girl who definitely wouldn’t take no for an answer. With her encouragement he very quickly started to believe in himself and he saw that anything was possible and he could be the kind of person he could only have dreamed of before meeting her. He started to sing and with her help write again, so they recorded an album with the help of their family and friends.

During their journey we met some amazing characters; his dad (Peter Peverley), an over the top music shop owner called Billy (Sean Kingsley), a banker (Samuel Martin) and a very funny Czech family who were obsessed with a soap opera which they thought would help them to speak better English.

The audience roared with laughter again and again at Girls mother’s speech, her brother’s need to play the drums especially with no trousers on, and Billy’s really over the top Spanish dancing. Billy’s relationship with ‘Girls’ sister and his initial dislike of the banker also kept the story moving.

The standing ovation at the end said it all and that along with the ending left us wanting more. So we didn’t really notice the rain on the way back to my mum’s car we were trying to deciding on what Guy and Girl’s happy ever after might have been and how to download the music as soon as we got home.

So WELL DONE to the Wolsey for another brilliant show.

Francesca Wilson – East Bergholt High School

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